Recently I have been writing about myofascial syndromes. The last two blogs have been about Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Today I would like to discuss Piriformis Syndrome.
Often a client will come in with a pain in the heel. They have seen Doctors who have said something about plantar fasciitis and their Chiropractor has been working the lower calf to relieve tension on the achilles tendon. However the pain persists. Sometimes the source of that obnoxious heel pain is further up the leg, all the way up to a very small but significant muscle named the Piriformis, located deep within the butt, underneath the large gluteal muscle.
A client of mine recently read the previous post and asked about her hands going numb when she slept. It was an excellent question.
Why do hands go to sleep when we sleep? They’re tired? 😉
In the last post I wrote about restrictions, movement and neural gliding.
Two examples come to mind. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Piriformis Syndrome. Both of these conditions illustrate myofascial work very well. In this blog, I will focus on Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS).
What the patient experiences
So you’re laying on the table and the therapist says that something is stuck. “What is stuck?”, you say.
From my perspective, ‘being stuck’ refers to the tissues I am working on not moving in a healthy manner. It can refer to a limb or joint not moving fluidly or it can have implications on neural gliding, the movement of nerves through the tissues.
The Tissues, the art of palpation
Good question! That is what researchers around the world are trying to figure out. For centuries the anatomists have cut it away while looking at the bodily structures assuming it was unimportant. But now we have a new appreciation for what fascia is and what its function is. To understand the fascia within your body, you first need to eat an orange and then go fly a kite … or fishing. (Of course you can also go to www.biotensegrity.com for a thorough treatment of the concepts. )
The Orange … or grapefruit … or even a raspberry?
To understand Myofascial Massage, let’s begin by looking at the terms. “Myo” means muscle. Pretty straight forward, we were taught about our muscles at a very early age. “Fascial” is a term that refers to the fascia, or connective tissue in our body. Finally, Massage is exactly what most people think it is, using the hands to work the muscles and tissues. So a Myofascial Massage uses the hands to address both the muscle and connective tissue.